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Conan O'Brien: I Won't Follow Jay Leno Again

Conan O'Brien NBC

Conan O'Brien is funny. And charmingly honest.

On the heels of last night's NBC-dissing monologue, the current host of The Tonight Show has released a statement saying he has no interest in continuing with the long-running franchise if it means pushing the show to a later time slot and once again following Jay Leno.

"People of Earth: In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me," he begins. "I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision."

He explains what accepting the role once inhabited by Johnny Carson meant to him and what the show as a whole means to him. And then he gets to the crux of his point.

"Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years, the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show.

"Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy."

It may seem as though the redheaded comic is being hard-nosed, but he's also incredibly sad.

"I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it...but I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction."

So, what's next? Is he heading to Fox?

Alas, even Conan isn't sure...but he is hopeful.

"There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next," he explains. "My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work."

He concludes as cleverly and adorably as he began.

"Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way."

NBC has no comment or reaction at this time.

(Originally published on Jan. 12, 2010, at 12:49 p.m. PT)

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